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More dew poison/rain rot questions

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    More dew poison/rain rot questions

    I know this topic has been discussed many times on this forum, but I wanted to see if anyone had any new recommendations for how to manage dew poison on horse's legs. I also have some questions about general horse care after a ride/bath. My horse had had a recent rash of dew poison on his legs and has a history of cellulitis, so I want to stay on top of it.

    ​​​​​First of all, I have always been taught to a) rinse off any sweat on their face after a ride. Otherwise, the hair will rub off more easily. Then b) towel off the horse's face AND legs after rinsing them. I usually go one step further and tie up my horse's tail in a knot while I'm bathing so that it doesn't get wet, and leave it tied until his legs are mostly dry. He sometimes gets dew poison on the tops of his hocks and I have always just associated it with not allowing that area to dry quickly enough.

    I know that to avoid dew poison on their legs, it's important to keep their paddocks mowed, and this is something that his barn hasn't been great about. They finally just mowed his field this past weekend. He had dew poison on all 4 legs, front and back, all the way up to his knees/hocks. It came off easily and didn't appear to be painful, but I'm worried about how to keep it at bay. What are the latest preventatives everyone is using? I thought about trying the Coat Defense powder, but I'm also wondering if this is just a repackaged version of Gold Bond powder.

    Additionally, he keeps losing the hair on his face around his cheekbones so I'm wondering if they are not rinsing/toweling his face when they ride him. Not a big deal, and I never specifically asked them to, but I wondered what others' opinions were on this before I bring it up - if this actually makes a difference, or it's just something to make owners feel better, and what else I can do to help the skin on his face.

    Any advice would be helpful!

    Who is "they"?

    I'd think hair loss at this time of year is just shedding in preparation for the winter coat.

    My prone to scratches and cellulitis horse improved *hugely* with proper copper and zinc supplementation. From multiple rounds of cellulitis every summer to none. Highly recommend!


      Original Poster

      "they" is the trainer and group of working students that ride him when I'm not there (they end up riding him?more than I do).

      The hair loss on his cheekbones isn't new -it's been happening all summer, it's just that I'm just getting around to trying to do something about it 🙂


        I'm battling rain rot, scratches, and a respiratory illness all at once.
        It started initially as a reaction to some late summer bugs which irritated his skin, a mildly snotty nose which I attributed to a horse in the neighbouring field returning from a show. Then a few wicked downpours in the midst of some very hot. humid weather. And similar to you, a paddock that didn't get mowed in a timely fashion. His immune system basically got knocked down and BAM lingering skin funk and a cough. He also scratched his eye, but that luckily healed in its own without getting infected.
        He's now on a course of sulfa and dex to get everything under control. We've been lucky enough that we have a stretch of dry weather, as it's still too warm for a rain sheet.

        We moved to our current barn in November of 2018. Prior to that we had no skin issues. Since then we've dealt with rain rot and scratches several times. I just started him on copper and zinc. After analyzing his diet, I don't think the additional copper and zinc in his hoof supplement is enough to off set/balance the iron coming from his water, feed, and hay at this location.

        It's hard to give advice without knowing your horses routine and environment. Sometimes clipping allows the skin to dry more quickly, but on the flip side you're removing any protective properties that the hair may have had. Rain sheets can help, but I've also seen horses develop rain rot from sweating for long periods under a blanket.
        Gold bond or a similar powder may help keep the skin dry. Desitin or another diaper rash cream, or vaseline can work as a barrier to keep the skin dry during wet conditions. A stall or run-in if it's raining.

        The vet school at Cornell has a seminar online about scratches and rain rot. They do a good job of listing a variety or treatments and when they may work (or not). Naming the specific bacteria, fungus, or mites that may be causing the issue and their specific treatments.


          What does it look like when he has active dew poisoning? The way you describe it, it makes me think you're experiencing "skin scurf" which is not a scientific name lol. But above the hocks and on the fronts of the hind cannons are common places to get gunky build up that does make hair come off when you curry it. It typically doesn't escalate into anything else. In dew poisoning I've seen, they are shallow open oozing sores and the skin surrounding is often hot and inflamed.

          My old TB has chronic pastern dermatitis and, each summer, episodes of lymphangitis. I empathize with a tall pasture in humid, wet weather—that is what sent him over the edge into his most recent lymphangitis episode (fever, lame, etc.). I typically give him genacin and SMZs but this year changed it up to genacin and Excede plus dex for a couple days because he had a weird allergic reaction at the same time. Seemed to clear it up quite quickly.

          I think it depends on a lot of factors like environment, care, and health of the horse. My horse has some immune compromise, I don't know from what but he does. In treating the pastern dermatitis, I've recently had good luck with alternating Biozide and Thermazene, keeping the scabs picked off, and clipping the hair short in those area in the winter. He comes in for a period of time during the day if the grass has been wet or if it's humid and buggy, bc the stomping and humidity are the perfect storm for irritation and infection. So on rainy mornings when most horses would be okay out, he comes in and gets his legs washed and wrapped to stand in a dry stall for a while. He is also older and stocks up easily so he gets wrapped when he comes in. Anything to try to catch the inflammation cycle before it starts.


            I use Equiderma Lotion on the body and Equiderma zinc paste on leg scurf (scratches, etc). If I don't have the paste onhand, then I just use the lotion a little bit longer. Wash the area (4Percent chlorhexidine shampoo or Hibiclens from Walgreens), dry, apply lotion or paste, then reapply every other day without washing. It doesn't really matter what the scurf is, the Equiderma products get rid of just about everything. Good luck with your horse.
            "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



              This summer i made a concentrated effort to avoid facial hair loss. Found that just rinsing wasn't coming close to cleaning. So now do a soaped rag, and some kind of rough mitten to scrub forehead and around eyes. Then rinse, then dry. It has made a BIG difference. Fortunately he loves his forehead brushed/cleaned.


                What do you use for a zinc/copper supplement? Just curious. My now deceased TB stallion that was a grey had some loss of pigment and increasing his copper intake helped, but I can't remember what I used. TIA I agree about Equiderma - great product that works!


                  Originally posted by TKR View Post
                  What do you use for a zinc/copper supplement? Just curious. My now deceased TB stallion that was a grey had some loss of pigment and increasing his copper intake helped, but I can't remember what I used. TIA I agree about Equiderma - great product that works!
                  Poly copper and poly zinc from Horse Tech, Uckele or California Trace.